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Swindon bus service 22 saved thanks to commercial move
A BID to save the number 22 bus has been successful with a transport company stepping in to secure the service’s future.
A report, expected to be approved by council bosses on Wednesday, recommended a subsidy for the hourly number 22 should be slashed to cater only for an evening service.
The authority has to make savings of at least around £200,000 from its local bus budget.
This would have meant that passengers living in Okus and Angel Ridge would not have a bus at all passing their homes during the day.
But Thamesdown Trans-port has announced it plans to introduce a fully commercial daytime bus.
This service will run from Barnfield through Okus Road to St Helen’s View, on a half-hourly basis, starting at the end of October.
“I am absolutely delighted that Okus and Angel Ridge residents will be getting this improved bus service, particularly as we had fears the service wouldn’t continue at all,” said Councillor Nadine Watts, who represents the Old Town ward.
“Moving the service to half-hourly will mean that Okus and Angel Ridge residents will get a bus service they deserve.
“Thamesdown Transport have shown faith in Old Town residents through delivering this new service on a fully commercial basis, so I would urge as many Okus and Angel Ridge residents as possible to use this bus service to ensure its longevity.
“Since council decided to cut its bus subsidy budget by £200,000, I have been in regular contact with Thamesdown Transport urging them to keep this service.
“I am pleased that I played my part in them not only retaining the service, but also making it more regular.
“Thamesdown Transport had considered re-routing the service through the Angel Ridge estate rather than through Okus Road, but I think it was sensible not to do this because lots of Angel Ridge residents rely on the residential roads for car parking.
“The last hurdle before this service is fully ready is cabinet agreeing to the council subsidising an evening service for the 22 bus and this is what has been proposed to them for their meeting on Wednesday.”
Paul Jenkins, managing director of Thamesdown, said: “We are pleased to confirm that residents of Okus will see an improved, more frequent bus service from October 28 not only to the town centre but also to the Outlet Centre, Sainsbury’s Supermarket at Bridgemead and B&Q.
“We were very keen to ensure that Okus retained a good service after the end of funding.
“With the new housing developments in the area now largely complete, we believe there is sufficient demand for this to be run commercially.
“We await Swindon Borough Council’s decision as to whether they will support an evening service to Okus as part of their new local bus strategy.
“Unfortunately the new Service 22 will not run beyond Okus as there are not enough people using the service over the Kingshill to West Swindon section for us to run this commercially.”
A spokesperson for Thamesdown Transport said that ticket prices would not increase.
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